Want to turn your business idea into a buzzworthy brand? Start with these two steps first. 

It’s not unusual for new business owners to feel like they’re spinning their wheels when it comes to brand building and marketing. Starting a business is challenging and requires a genuine belief in your product and its ability to improve your customers’ lives in a unique way. In an often crowded market, businesses must be able to clearly communicate their unique value proposition in a way that their desired audience understands. Developing a clear brand strategy is an essential first step in the brand-building journey, as it will guide all future brand and marketing activities.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, stuck, or need some guidance on the best place to start, let’s take a step back and make sure we have the basics on lock.

Step one: Define “why” you exist. What is your North Star?

The days of building a business for the sole purpose of making money are long gone, and I am encouraged to see this change in perspective from business owners. Instead of viewing purpose as an add-on to the business and brand strategy, businesses are baking purpose into its core and using it as an anchor for business activities. Building a purpose-driven brand that resonates with the values and beliefs of its target audience is beneficial for several reasons:

  1. Differentiation: In a competitive marketplace, a brand’s purpose helps it stand out. It distinguishes the brand from others by communicating what it stands for and the values it upholds. Customers are more likely to buy from brands that share and support values that resonate with theirs.
  2. Brand loyalty and advocacy: Purpose-driven brands often foster a sense of community and shared values among their customers. This can increase loyalty and advocacy as customers become proud brand ambassadors.
  3. Longevity: A clear brand purpose provides a long-term vision and guides the brand’s growth and evolution. It helps a brand make strategic decisions that align with its core values, ensuring consistency and relevance in the market.
  4. Employee engagement: Employees are often an overlooked audience for new business owners. Selling inside first is essential in brand building to ensure everyone shares the same vision and mission. It also guides and inspires employees who feel they are contributing meaningfully and productively.
  5. Innovation and adaptation: A brand purpose can inspire innovation. Brands committed to a higher purpose are more likely to adapt to changing market conditions, emerging trends, and evolving customer preferences while remaining true to their core values.

“A purpose-driven approach allows companies to broaden their mission, create a holistic value proposition and deliver lifetime benefits to customers …. Leaders need to think long and hard about how to make purpose central to their strategy.” —Harvard Business Review

Step two: Clearly define your target audience.

The most common mistake, or let’s call it a misconception, is that your product is for everyone. As a brand strategist who works closely with business owners in researching and defining a target audience, it is not entirely unusual to hear from my clients that their products are “for everyone.” This is always interesting to me. Let’s break that down a little.

When we define our target audience, we have to ask ourselves if our ideal customer is both willing (i.e. they have a need for your product) and able (i.e. they have the financial means) to purchase your product. This point is crucial to understand as a customer may be able to afford a product but is not willing to buy your product as they do not have a need for it.

Let’s illustrate this point by using the example of a new juice bar opening on the beachfront. We’ll call it All Juiced Up (AJU).

If you live in a health-obsessed city like I do, juice bars are a plenty, and finding your place in a (debatably) oversaturated market can be tough. If AJU believed their juices were for everyone, they wouldn’t be completely wrong. It is true that everyone can drink juice, but the question they have to ask is whether everyone wants to.

Let’s narrow it down a little so that we can start forming a picture in our minds of who would consider purchasing a juice from AJU:

  1. They live in or frequent the area. It is likely that someone would only travel a short distance to buy juice in a city with many available juice bars. Once brand awareness is established and AJU becomes known for making KILLA juices that can’t be replicated, this may be different, but for now, let’s stick with our original hypothesis.
  2. They are interested in the health benefits of juicing. Understanding why people drink juice would be useful when it comes to brand positioning, but we can assume that many people drink juice because of the belief that there are health benefits associated with it.
  3. They have disposable income. With juices ranging anywhere from R60-R100, we have to consider if our ideal customer can afford the price of a juice.

The above parameters are very superficial but give us a good understanding of how to think about our target audience. When building out a client persona, I always find it helpful to find a stock photo, give your ideal customer a name, and really get to know your target audience. Facts like how old they are and where they live are important, but I urge you to start understanding WHO they are and WHY they buy.

If you want to delve deeper into this, HubSpot’s persona builder is a great resource to get you going. Always remember that you are solving for their pain points. i.e., how does your product solve their needs? Having this clearly defined will also enable you to write sales copy that speaks directly to your target audience.

Step three: Ensure steps one and two are clearly defined.

If you have dedicated time to mapping out steps one and two – great. If you have skimmed over it, this is a gentle nudge to go back and really define your North Star and WHO your target audience is.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of steps in your brand strategy, but it will anchor and inform your brand positioning and how you go to market. Building a brand is an ongoing, iterative process, and these steps will guide you toward a successful, purpose-driven brand that resonates with your audience.

If you find yourself at a crossroads, overwhelmed, or simply seeking guidance on the path forward, get in touch with us. The journey from business idea to bold brand is a collaborative one. Together, we build your vision and create a purpose-driven brand that resonates with your audience by making a meaningful impact in their lives.

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